Best Climbing Harness
Rock climbing can be a great way to spend your free time this summer. Not only is it provide a great workout but it also is a great activity to do as it will get you out in nature and enjoying the warm weather. When climbing, there is a lot of gear that you need to bring with you in order to stay safe and enjoy yourself. One might argue that one of the most important pieces of gear to have in your arsenal is a quality and reliable climbing harness. A climbing harness will allow you to be secured and stay safe while climbing in case you slip or lose your footing. Now, if you are looking for a replacement harness or maybe just starting to get into climbing and are looking for your first harness, the below guide was made for you.
In a Hurry? The test winner after 15 hrs of research
Comfortable to wear
Offers superior safety for traditional climbers
- Black Diamond Chaos
- Black Diamond Ozone
- Black Diamond Primerose
- Arc'teryx AR-395A
- Petzl Calidris
- Metolius Safe Tech
- Petzl Corax
- Petzl Aspir
- Black Diamond Solution
- Black Diamond Vario Speed
- Criteria Used for Evaluation
- Other Factors to Consider
- Frequently Asked Questions
Top Ten Climbing Harnesses
1. Black Diamond Chaos
Comfortable to wear
Offers superior safety for traditional climbers
Can be a hassle to clean and care for
If you enjoy traditional climbing in the great outdoors, the Chaos Harness from the Black Diamond collection is certainly one to consider. Offering great overall security, comfort, and durability, this is one harness that will certainly go the distance with you.Read more
Ounce for ounce, this is one of the most secure and safety conscious harnesses on the market today. The use of a unique kinetic core construction helps to prevent unnecessary tension on key pressure points and easily distributes a load of your body and equipment throughout the entire harness. In addition, the rear haul loop is rated for 12 kN of energy, so your tag line is always secure.
The lightweight design of this harness, as well as the strategic padding, makes it one of the more comfortable ones available on the market today. In addition, the even distribution of weight over the entire harness structure makes it easy to have a full range of motion without too much pinching or muscle strain.
This harness features four pressure-molded gear loops, with the front two loops being slightly larger to allow for additional materials if needed.
This harness features a number of aspects that contribute to its overall great durability. First, the waistband and leg loops feature an abrasion resistant outer shell, and the bullhorn-shaped waist belt helps to prevent unnecessary wear and tear by conforming easily to most body types. And finally, instead of using the traditional webbing, this harness uses Vectran fibers to allow for a stronger, and more even weight distribution.
2. Black Diamond Ozone
Easy to clean and maintain
Designed specifically for sport climbing
Many find the harness to be too small
If you’re looking for a harness that is just what you need and nothing more, you can’t go wrong with the Ozone Harness from Black Diamond. Simple in its construction and design, the effectiveness of this harness shines through.Read more
This harness from Black Diamond offers Kinetic Core Construction with the use of Vectran strands to allow for one of the most stable harnesses and best weight distribution on the list.
While most harnesses in this price range have a significant amount of padding associated with the waist belt and leg loops, the Black Diamond Ozone tries for a more minimalist approach, relying on the overall design and even weight distribution for comfort. While this works well, for the most part, most found that the harness itself was uncomfortably small.
This harness features four pressure-molded equipment loops, strategically located within easy reach to the right and left sides. These loops are fairly large in size, so it’s easy to tie equipment to them to haul up the rock face.
While this harness is fairly lightweight, it is also fairly durable. The abrasion resistant shell offers some protection from the usual wear and tear, and the overall shape allows for less strain on the individual parts, leading to a fairly long life.
3. Black Diamond Primerose
Easy to adjust
Sizes can be small
This is another great climbing harness from Black Diamond and as you can see from our list, that black diamond makes some quality and reliable harnesses. It is safe to say if you are in the market for a new harness, you should definitely check this one out.Read more
Like all black diamond harnesses, this harness is reliable and made to support your body as you climb. It offers comfortable support and does not put to much tension on your body. It is also adjustable so you can get the best fit possible.
This harness from black diamond is made from synthetic material and feels great against your clothes or skin. It also has adjustable buckles to ensure you can adjust your harness to be as comfortable as possible.
Other than being adjustable, this harness does not come with any other notable features.
This harness is made from synthetic material and will last you many years to come with proper care. Black diamond also has great customer reviews, so if you have any issues contact Black Diamond for quick support.
4. Arc'teryx AR-395A
Great weight distribution
Easy access to tools
Can be difficult to clean properly
In order to make our list, a harness needs to be able to keep a climber secure, comfortable, give him the ability to reach what he needs, when he needs it, be durable, and easy to care for. More than any other, the Arcteryx AR-395a Harness accomplishes those goals with ease.Read more
The Arcteryx AR-395a offers the climber a very secure fit and use by using warp strength technology to disperse the pressure of the body throughout the entire harness, so there are very few points where the harness or the climber is under too much strain. In addition, the harness features easy to see belay loop indicators, and tie points as well, making attaching the belay ropes easy to do and understand.
With a superior strength to weight ratio, a climber won’t have to worry about portions of the harness digging into his muscles or skin, and there are a number of small features that add to the overall comfort level of this piece of equipment. The waist belt has a softer, cushioned edge, and the leg loops are fully adjustable as well. Plus the overall harness is so lightweight you’ll barely know it’s there.
Whether you’re reaching for a chalk bag, a hammer, or a quickdraw, the last thing you want while climbing is to be fumbling around reaching for your equipment. As a climber, you have other things on your mind. Thankfully, this harness provides four reversible gear loops, as well as a rear haul loop made of durable polyurethane, so getting to what you need shouldn’t be a problem.
While the Arcteryx AR-395a is extremely lightweight and comfortable to wear, don’t be fooled. This climbing harness is about as tough as they come. Created with a burly double weave material and featuring stainless steel leg hooks, chances are this harness will last you for quite a few years of climbing.
5. Petzl Calidris
Great weight distribution
Offers great support
Can be a hassle to clean
If you’re going to be spending quite a bit of time climbing, having a harness that can comfortably move with you is important. With its strong ergonomic design, the Petzl Calidris Climbing Harness is a great choice when hanging by a climbing rope for longer periods of time is in your future.Read more
This climbing harness uses unique frame construction technology and bias webbing to adequately transfer the weight of the climber and his equipment throughout the entire waist belt and leg loops for a superior reduction in pressure points and a great fit. In addition, the bright green belay belt loop is easy to find and attach to your rope. Also, key areas, including the tie ins are reinforced, added to the overall stability of the harness.
Between the ergonomic design, breathable mesh exterior, and the firm yet comfortable foam padding, this harness is very comfortable to wear, even over a longer term. The mesh provides superior moisture wicking ability, and both the waist belt and leg loops can be easily adjusted while in use for added customization if needed.
This climbing harness features four good-sized equipment loops, placed on either side of the waist belt. Although the loops are decent in size, their placement means that hanging equipment might hit on the upper thigh and leg area a little more than necessary.
Overall, we really can’t complain about the toughness of this climbing harness. It’s well put together and the individual parts are well thought out and made of quality material. While it’s nothing exceptional, it will certainly get the job done while climbing in a number of different environments.
6. Metolius Safe Tech
Fairly comfortable and lightweight
Equipment loops are easy to access
Comfortable fit, especially for male climbers
Reinforced stitching may get in the way of the belay rope
This final entry on our list of the best climbing harnesses is by no means any type of slouch. The Metolius Safe Tech Deluxe Harness has quite a few features that make it not only a safe choice for both veteran and novice climbers but also a comfortable one as well.Read more
This harness features two belay and rappel loops to help minimize clutter and keep your pitches organize, especially during multiple pitch belays. Also, the reinforced tie in points and overall adjustable rise system allows for superior fit in a wide array of sizes and conditions.
While this harness doesn’t have as much padding as some other harnesses on this list, the ergonomic design is easily adjustable, and allows for a great range of motion, especially for male climbers.
This climbing harness features four equipment loops positioned in a diamond pattern that offers great accessibility and ease of use.
This harness is certainly tough enough to withstand most climbing environments, and we couldn’t find many complaints about the overall workmanship or toughness. The only complaint we found was that sometimes the reinforced stitching was reinforced too much, leading to places where the belay rope could become hung up, especially in a falling situation. While this may cause an annoyance, with practice it can easily be managed.
7. Petzl Corax
Easy to clean
Not as much padding as we would like
Petzl has a fairly long history of making quality climbing equipment, and this example from their harness collection is no slouch. Designed for both comfort and strength, this harness is a great choice for nearly every climber, whether they are a beginner or an expert.Read more
Proper safety often means a secure and centralized fit when it comes to climbing harnesses, and the Petzl Corax helps to keep everything in the right place through the use of two double back buckles which make it easy to adjust the harness to fit different body types for personalized weight distribution.
This harness is highly adjustable, with the size of the waist and leg loops easily changed as a need to provide a comfortable and customized fit. There is some minimal padding on the leg loops and waist. Although we would have like to see a bit more, for the most part, the overall lightweight nature of the harness overall provides a lightweight and comfortable feel.
This harness features four equipment loops. Two of them located in the front are ridged, while two more in the back are more flexible, and can hold more equipment. There is also an accessory loop in the rear of the harness for hassle-free carrying.
Overall the simple construction of this harness and material used lends itself to long-lasting wear. Although the adjustable straps have been known to wear through on occasion, there have been little or no complaints about the harness’s longevity.
8. Petzl Aspir
Easy to adjust
Very comfortable and lightweight
Great for a beginner climber
Could offer more support around legs
When it comes to ease of use while climbing, the Aspir Climbing Harness from Petzl is hard to beat. With it's easy to adjust features and simple design, it's little wonder why this harness is often the first choice for climbing schools and people who teach about this great sport.Read more
This harness provides adequate weight distribution, and the color-coded leg loops and waist belt make it a simple task to put on the harness correctly, even if you are a beginner.
This harness can easily be adjusted to small, medium and large sizes, although many customers report that it runs a little on the small size, especially in the hip area. However, once the harness is adjusted, the padding in the leg and waist and the lightweight design make for a very comfortable fit.
If you’re looking to haul a fair amount of equipment up the rock face, this climbing harness is probably not the best choice for you. The two equipment loops, however, are usually quite adequate for a normal recreational climber or a novice who only carries a few things.
This harness is very lightweight overall, but still features solid connections between the different parts as well as reinforced tie-in points for added longevity. While frequent inspections for wear and tear are advisable, this harness should last for quite a few years.
9. Black Diamond Solution
Stretches easily to fit
Wide range of motion
Could be more durable
Black Diamond makes it's first, but not last, appearance on our list with the Solution Climbing Harness. This affordable and lightweight climbing gear option is a great choice for those who demand a full range of motion with a contoured fit.Read more
This harness provides great weight distribution, so you won’t have to worry about isolated areas of the harness failing due to overstrain. In addition, the personal anchor features Dynex loops that are sewn directly into the harness for added safety when attaching to the climbing ropes.
This harness has three separate strands of webbing that are relatively low profile, which means that the harness easily stretches to fit, and allows for a wide range of movement. There is a very good chance that you won’t remember that you’re wearing this harness – not until you need it.
The Black Diamond Solution Harness features four pressure-molded gear loops placed in strategic locations for easy access to all the climbing equipment that you brought along. The only complaint that we have found was that these loops weren’t strong enough to carry more than what was needed, so hauling up equipment during a pitch might be a little problematic.
While it won’t win any awards for extreme toughness the overall simple construction makes for a long lasting harness, provided that it’s properly cared for. While it wouldn’t win any tough man competitions, for most climbers, this harness should last quite a few years.
10. Black Diamond Vario Speed
Very easy to use and care for
Perfect for a gym setting
Not designed for outdoor use
If you’re a gym warrior, and you want a harness that is quick to wear, comfortable to use, and fairly easy to maintain, the Vario Speed Harness from Black Diamond is a fantastic choice.Read more
This harness features wide nylon webbing that is not only easy to adjust, but that also has large quick-adjust buckles that don’t require doubling back. However, because of the design, there is only a single loop that your rope is attached to, so this area should be inspected on a regular basis.
The thick nylon webbing is surprisingly comfortable, but there is no substantial padding on either the leg loops or waist belt, so if you require that aspect in a climbing harness, you might want to look elsewhere.
Unfortunately, this harness doesn’t feature any equipment loops that appear to be standard on most other climbing harnesses. The Vario Speed from Black Diamond is truly built for hassle-free climbing at the gym where equipment doesn’t have to be carried by the climber.
Although this harness is extremely lightweight and easy to use, don’t be fooled; it’s still fairly durable as well. The nylon webbing that makes up the harness itself is wide, easily adjustable, and is highly resistant to tears and cuts. While we wouldn’t necessarily trust the toughness when out in the wilderness, in a supervised gym setting, it’s more than enough.
Criteria Used for Evaluation
In this case, we defined security as the harness’s ability to keep the climber relatively secure and safe in a wide range of climbing environments. Things such as proper weight distribution ease of adjustment and areas of reinforcement all played a part in determining how well the harness would perform, especially in fall situations.
With a few minor exceptions, all these harnesses met or greatly exceeded our expectations when it came to overall safety and security. They provided excellent weight distribution, and helped to all but eliminate problematic stress points, which could lead to harness failure over time. Overall this is the most important factor to consider when looking for a climbing harness as when you are climbing you are significantly high off the ground and you want this harness to offer you the proper support to keep you safe and avoid injury.
While the true measure of comfort belongs to the climber wearing the harness, there are a number of design features that do make some harnesses easier to wear and use over others. Whether it’s ergonomic design, strategic padding, or overall lightweight webbing, most of these harnesses provide some level of comfort and ease of wearing for a climber. It is true that we found a few like the Metolius harness to be a bit lacking in the padding department, for the most part, these harnesses were shown to be a joy to wear.
This is another important factor to consider as when you are climbing you want to be comfortable and have few irritations and distractions while climbing so you can completely focus on completing the climb. If you have a harness that is causing discomfort than this can cause an issue when on your next climb. The best way to ensure that a harness is comfortable is to check the customer reviews. The customer reviews will give you an inside look at how the harness felt for other customers that decided to go ahead with the harness and if they were happy with their decision.
As any climber learns very quickly, you’re often not truly alone while climbing. Along with your belay partner, you’re also likely to have quite a few pieces of equipment beside you, including a chalk bag, a hammer, a few dozen carabiners, a first aid pouch, cloth tape, and believe it or not, a pair of nail clippers to name just a few items. And you’ll be surprised how often you will use each one. So having access to these tools while you’re climbing is extremely important. Most of these harnesses, with the exception of the Black Diamond Vario Speed Harness, provide either two or four equipment loops that are solidly attached to the harness, and within easy reach of a climber’s hands.
While a harness should be inspected and possibly replaced on a regular basis depending on the frequency of use, having one that has some longevity and durability is a good idea. Because of this, we considered the materials used to make the harness, the overall quality of the workmanship, as well as how the harness fit and where potential points of weakness could be. While we did find a number of individual details and design choices that we didn’t always agree with, the harnesses on this list met, or exceeded our expectations when it came to durability and toughness.
If properly maintained, the best climbing harnesses can last for years of enjoyable climbs. In order to make sure that happens, a climber needs to regularly inspect and clean his climbing harness. So it pays to take a closer look at how easy or hard maintenance on these harnesses has the potential to be. Thankfully, with a few minor exceptions, most of these harnesses were very easy to care for, and maintain.
Expert Interviews & Opinions
The best climbing harnesses help keep you safe, secure and comfortable no matter the climbing situation that you find yourself in. Whether you’re tackling a multiple pitch climb, or simply hanging out at the wall at the gym, having the best climbing harness for your style is important. Whether you choose something from this list or follow a different path, be sure to consider the overall quality, comfort and dependability of the climbing harness carefully.
When looking for a new harness for your summer of climbing, you not only want to ensure that the harness is comfortable and will keep you safe but you also want to make sure that it is stylish as well. This may not be a huge factor to consider but why not get a harness that will do all the things you need it to and be stylish at the same time?
When looking for a harness to go rock climbing with this summer, make sure that the harness you have your eye on has the ability to be adjusted. A harness that has the ability to be adjusted will ensure that it fits great and that you can customize the comfortability. It also allows for your friend or loved ones to use your harness as it can be adjusted to their size.
Other Factors to Consider
Depending on your climbing style, and choices, you’ll either wear the harness on the waist or just below that, around your hip area. In either case, getting a proper fit for your body is mandatory for safety and comfort. So when you’re buying a harness, don’t be afraid to try a few different ones on, and take a flexible tape measure with you as well. Taking a few measurements, including around your hips, waist, and thighs may be needed to get the proper fit. The waist belt should fit tight against you, while the leg loops should be slightly looser, but still snug.
It’s also a good idea to also consider the rise of the harness or the distance between the waist belt and the leg loops. If the distance is too short, you’ll have to lean back unnaturally when you’re hanging, but if the rise is too great, your hips will absorb too much of the force of a fall, leading to possible dislocation. One way to tell that the rise is of the proper size is to try out the harness on a wall. If it’s fitting properly, you should be able to hang with your back, and hips in a relatively straight line parallel to the wall itself. If you have to struggle to maintain a straight posture, the rise isn’t right.
The bottom line when looking for a harness for your climbing adventures this summer season is that you want a harness from a trusted brand, one that will keep you comfortable, give you the support and security you need when you are climbing, and is stylish. All of the harness on our list are high quality and will be reliable when you climb next. Also, remember to check the customer reviews to ensure that the harness you are looking at will be best fitted to you. Check and see how the harness worked for other customers and if there was any notable faults or concerns they had. This way you will know you are getting a quality harness and can focus on your next climb.
Frequently Asked Questions
q: How often should I replace my harness?
It is a good idea to replace your harness at the minimum of every seven years due to the overall deterioration of the materials used. It’s just better to be safe. However, depending on your frequency of climbing adventures, it may have to be replaced much more often. So be sure to inspect it on a regular basis for tears, places of weakness and overall condition, and replace as soon as you see signs that it can no longer support your weight.
q: How should I care for my climbing harness?
First, be sure to inspect your harness before and after each climb. Look for signs of discoloration, tears, or excessive fraying. If you see any of these things, it’s best to use a different harness and retire that one from use.
When your harness gets dirty, and you’ll be surprised at how often that happens, the best course of action is to first try rinsing it off to get rid of the dirt and grime. If that doesn’t work, a wipe down with soapy water and a damp sponge may do the trick. Don’t use bleach or any type of harsh cleaner since the abrasive chemicals can cause the harness to deteriorate more quickly. And of course, be sure to dry the harness off completely.
q: Is a climbing harness really necessary?
Your climbing harness is one of the most important pieces of equipment that you’ll use in this sport. It not only helps to keep you safe while climbing, but it also provides support for your back and hips, a place to keep your equipment, and most importantly a secure place to attach your climbing ropes and pitches.
q: What other gear should I be using with my climbing harness?
Let’s face it there is a lot of equipment that can be used while climbing. Between the chalk bags, ropes, carabiners, crampons, mountaineering boots, hammers, gloves, and various other climbing tools, your harness needs to be able to support, and sometimes work around a lot of different items. For example, a harness that doesn’t have adjustable leg loops can be quite a hassle to put on, especially when dealing with bulky mountaineering boots. Also, the more flexible equipment loops might not have the strength you need to carry heavier equipment, compared to the more rigid design. So taking into consideration what else you’ll be bringing to the mountain is important.
q: If I buy a more expensive climbing harness, while that ensure I get a safer and more durable harness?
When looking at investing in a climbing harness, do not think the more expensive the climbing harness the more durable or better quality it will be, as that just is not the case. The best thing to do when looking for a durable climbing harness to last you years to come is to look at the material and also the reviews to see how the climbing harness has held up for other consumers that have put them to the test. Do not solely be swayed by price as you may end up with an expensive climbing harness that will not hold up, make an educated purchase and do the research before buying.